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SC seeks supplementary report from FIA in Asghar Khan case

Next hearing scheduled for April 22

SAMAA | - Posted: Apr 2, 2019 | Last Updated: 3 years ago
Posted: Apr 2, 2019 | Last Updated: 3 years ago

Photo: SAMAA Digital

The Asghar Khan case will not be closed, said the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday. It ordered a supplementary report from the Federal Investigation Agency and the names of the officials who are not cooperating.

At least 20 years ago, Air Marshal (retired) Muhammad Asghar Khan filed a human rights petition in 1996 against the then army chief General (retired) Aslam Baig and others. His petition was based on Gen (retired) Naseerullah Babar’s assertions that the ISI had manipulated the 1990 general elections by giving money to several politicians and purchasing their loyalties.

Appearing before the court, former DG ISI Gen (retired) Asad Durrani had confirmed the allegations and confessed to having doled out Rs90 million among the politicians.

“FIA wants to create an atmosphere that may lead to a closure of the case,” said Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed. “But we will dig deep. We’ll take the matter to its logical end.”

The apex court bench, headed by CJP Asif Saeed Khosa, heard the Asghar Khan implementation case and directed FIA to continue its investigations.

Director Legal Brigadier Falak Naz represented the defence ministry before the bench. He told the court that the ministry had already submitted its report on March 16.

Related: Supreme Court rejects FIA’s request to close the Asghar Khan case

Justice Saeed, however, directed him to re-submit it as it is not on record. “Who was operating the bank accounts? Who should have the record which hasn’t been submitted so far?” the court asked FIA. It directed the investigation body to submit the details of people who have yet to provide banking records.

The court also ordered the agency to submit the names of those who declined to accept the money.

No action has been taken against those who had confessed to their offence, said counsel Salman Akram Raja.

The case will now be heard on April 22.

On January 11 this year, the apex court had rejected the FIA’s request to close the Asghar Khan case. A two-member bench, comprising the then CJP Saqib Nisar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, ruled that the case will continue.

Related: What does the Asghar Khan case have to do with PM Imran Khan?

During the hearing, FIA Director-General Bashir Memon had told the court that six of 10 politicians involved in the Asghar Khan case have died and the remaining others have refused to provide their written statements.

A big part of the late Khan’s life went into this case, remarked Justice Nisar. This court is standing with Asghar Khan’s family, he said, adding that it will not let his fight go in vain.

Earlier in January, Khan’s family approached the court against the FIA’s request to close the case due to lack of evidence.

Related: PM Khan wants to know why FIA requested court to close the Asghar Khan case

The apex court, headed by the then CJP Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry, delivered a 141-page judgment in 2012 and held the 1990 general elections marred with rigging. Brigadier (retired) Hamid Saeed’s diary also was made part of the ruling. The diary lists the names of those who received the money.

The SC’s verdict said the intelligence agencies are not supposed to set up election cells, instead, their only task is to defend national frontiers. The president is the head of the state and he will be held as violating the Constitution, if he fails to stand by his oath, said the ruling.

It doesn’t suit him to support any political group, it stated. The SC called upon, in its verdict, the government to close, if there is any cell at the presidency. The then president, army chief and DG ISI misused their positions, it stated.

Then army chief Aslam Baig and DG ISI Asad Durrani participated in unlawful activities, however it was their own individual act, not the institutions’, said the judgment.

Asghar Khan had filed an application which was later turned into a petition. Aslam Baig’s review petition is also pending before the apex court.

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